Tuesday, August 25, 2009


"Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.  I am the Lord."  Leviticus 18:28

This is just to ask your thoughts.  Right before this verse it talks about not clipping the edges of your beard, so I'm wondering, where do we draw the line?  Am I missing something about the beards?  Maybe there's a bigger purpose in the beard thing.  I don't know.  What do y'all think?


Brian said...

Several ideas:

1. The Christian faith - in particular the Protestant faith - has long taught that as Christians, we are freed from the ceremonial and specific-civic laws of ancient Israel because of two things: Christ's fulfillment of them, and our freedom from mere outward requirements (certain amounts of alcohol, diseases in our homes, two kinds of crops in the same place, circumcision, etc.)

2. Still, I think that the words about tattoos and beards are important. For examples, the importance of beards in OT Israel - and throughout much of history - has been to provide an outward representation of masculinity, to show that men and women are different. That's a good thing.

And the importance of avoiding lots of tattoos and cutting your body is good for two reasons: First, Israel was supposed to stand out from its neighbors, who did these things regularly, and did them in relation to their own gods. Same goes for today. Avoiding immoral tattoos (foreign religious symbols, morbid depictions of death, naked bodies) helps keep us from merely imitating things the world does that maybe we shouldn't do. Secondly, it's probably just healthier for our bodies to not do it (or, to do it minimally).

I didn't mean to write that much, and I certainly don't want to be definitively quoted. Those are just my thoughts on the subject as of late.

Kiki said...

What Brian said. :) Or at least part of it. I am also under the impression that the ceremonial and national parts of the law (those regarding the ceremony in the temple and the governing of the nation Israel) have been fulfilled and do not apply to us any longer. The moral law--like the ten commandments--do. Yes, there is some wisdom in the laws of the OT for us and some principles that they illustrate. But that doesn't always mean that we're bound by them. I would say a tattoo is a big thing because it's permanent, but I don't know that I feel convinced God has any certain stance on them. I guess if I were thinking about getting one, then I'd pray about it and seek it more, but in general I think people should be smart with permanence (and, when they're young, their parent's feelings), and from a faith perspective should pray about it. Yeah, this ended up being a little long as well...

AS said...

Have you talked to Brooke Carico or Nathan about these verses?